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MACR appreciates government but not happy over delay in approving Draft State Child Policy, 2017

IT News

Imphal, Feb 21

Manipur Alliance for Child Rights earnestly appreciates the recent decision of the state government for setting up of two Fast Tract Courts for trial of  POCSO Cases. However, the State is yet to approve a very  crucial Policy document, i.e. the    Draft State Child Policy, 2017  for dealing all the child rights issue in a holistic manner,  which  remains stuck for the last three years.

The draft policy was submitted to State Government. by the Manipur Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MCPCR) in the year 2017  after a rigorous rectification process, involving key  line departments, academicians, media, intellectuals, judiciaries and inputs from NCPCR. The Policy mandated to embark upon for synergizing all line departments , conversance of various child related   programmes and schemes,  to ensure an enabling child friendly  environment to  promote and protect child rights effectively  in  Manipur.

The  Chief Minister N. Biren Singh , gave his assurance to adopt the  state child policy soon in the state on the 29th September 2017, in a similar hint.  Honorable Governor Najma Heptula also expressed her confidence that the state government would earnestly consider implementation of the Policy, on the 30th September, 2018. 

In connection with the requirement for a  State Child Policy, a statement by MARC said that Since  the state is highly inflicted with constant civil unrest situation, bandh and blockades, general strikes, agitations, apart from a perennial armed conflict situation,  affecting right to education and right to life of children at the most,  MACR  strongly felt that a conflict sensitive and  Comprehensive  State Child Policy could be the  best  solution to resolve the existing  gaps and challenges and  address the child rights issues significantly. 

Population of Children of Manipur comprises a 38 percent of the total population of the State, our children are is still facing  crucial issues, to mention a few;  uncontrollable  child trafficking, escalating child sexual assault cases, deteriorating child substance abuse phenomenon,  issues of lack of rehabilitation, shortcomings on care and treatment of children living with  HIV/AIDS , issues of school drop outs, mismatch in the enrolment ratio of students ( almost 70% in private schools and 30% in Govt. schools),  unseen  child labors population,  unreported incidents  of child marriages cases  etc..

Although the State is implementing bundles of Child welfare Schemes, major challenges  faced in the field,   are the immense incompatibility  of  National Flagship Schemes and programmes which lacks conflict sensibility,  adaptability in socio-cultural, administrative setups specially in tribal areas across different geographical terrains. Our child rights issues are caused by and manifested with specific local issues having distinct   geo-specific  characters and unique  political environment. 

For example the National ICPS guidelines for setting up of VLCPCs is based on Panchayat raj system of India, and it  does not explicitly mention about  the role and responsibilities of  Village Authority and the Autonomous District Councils  ( local authorities) operational  in the hill areas of Manipur. Similar problem  is happened in the case of formation of School Management Committee (SMC)  setup under Rights of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act.

Therefore, MACR draws the immediate attention of the State Government and all the Hon’ble legislators of Manipur Legislative Assembly, to debate and discuss on the issue of State Child Policy to make it approve at the earliest. 

Lack of a Manipur oriented State Plan of Action for prevention, rescue, rehabilitation of Child trafficking remains as a big intervention gap in combating the serious menace. 

Further, Anganwadi Centres under ICDS do not supply  locally suitable nutritional foods  to the Children, as a result children of the state specially in hills, by and large unwilling to take the supplied ready to east food at Anganwadi centres. These foods should be    suitable with local or tribal’s’ food habit and culture.

Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 15+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents. Rinku can be contacted at [email protected] 

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